Malawi

The first MMM Sisters arrived in Malawi in 1962. For several decades they developed St. John's Hospital in the town of Mzuzu, with its well-known nurse training programme.

Malawi is called 'The Warm Heart of Africa'. Services extended later to the Health Centre at Nkhata Bay, on the shore of the beautiful fresh water Lake Malawi which stretches more than 560 kilometers.

Today, our work in Malawi is mainly focused on community-based health care. However, the terrible famine that threatened the lives of millions of people in 2002 disrupted that for a long time, and inevitably drew us more deeply into the area of nutrition.

Happily, we were able to play our part in preventing many deaths during that time and during later periods of drought. With the help of hundreds of donors and by working closely with other NGOs in Malawi, we were involved in distributing seeds, fertilizer, and tools, which resulted in good harvests.

The feeding centres that we ran throughout 2002 were all finally closed in May 2003, allowing us to concentrate once again on our core work.

This was done at Chipini, a rural health centre in the south of Malawi, near the city of Zomba. From there we had an outreach programme to the surrounding seventy-six villages.

Our latest mission in Malawi is at Kasina, about one hour's drive south of Lilongwe, where we run a health centre and an outreach programme.

Sister Clara Chikwana is the first Malawian woman to become a professed Sister with MMM. She is now accompanying other women in the early stages of joining MMM. Sisters assigned to Malawi are from Nigeria, Ireland, and Zimbabwe.

In townships like Mziritsa on the periphery of Lilongwe, we support the work of women in development, income-generation projects, and community-based health care.

The country suffered a crushing brain drain of medical and nursing staff, which it is working hard to reverse. Although MMMs have trained more than 1,000 nurses since we went to Malawi in 1962, it is extremely difficult to recruit trained staff there today. Those who return from overseas are attracted to the bigger centres, leaving the poorly-resourced rural areas without sufficient personnel.

MMMs in Malawi are involved in:

  • Basic health care: child care and decreasing maternal mortality
  • Women's programmes
  • Development work with families in villages
  • HIV programmes
  • Agriculture
  • Orphan care: training relatives in care of infants; school fees
  • Vocation promotion

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